INDEPENDENT NEWS

Dangerous environment supports Commissioner’s report

Published: Sat 5 Sep 2015 10:02 AM
Dangerous environment supports Commissioner’s report
An OIA revealing more than 600 dangerous incidents at a CYFs run youth justice facility in Christchurch, Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo, is proof of last month’s damning report by the Children’s Commissioner, but also shows that Ministers have known about these issues for years, Labour’s Justice and Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says.
“Information obtained by Labour reveals hundreds of incidents, including serious assaults, drug use, and self-harm at Te Puna Wai in the last year.
“Documents show that between July 2014 and April this year there were 590 ‘moderate security’ incidents, and 37 incidents classified as ‘serious’, with staff threatened and assaulted, property damaged and suicide attempts. Police have been called to the centre numerous times.
“Issues around safety at Te Puna Wai have been a concern for some time. Between 2010 and 2013 the Ministry of Social Development recorded 27 assaults against staff, six of which required medical treatment.
“The latest documents show MSD initiated two short term plans to try and deal with the problem. However after a major incident at the residence last October, a meeting with the Chief Social Worker was requested to discuss concerns, including staff numbers and the stability of the leadership team.
“Te Puna Wai is home to roughly 22-30 young people, with a ratio of one staff member to every 2.5 to 3 residents. In the past two years it has had 16 temporary staff, and five residence managers.
“This was one of the major issues that was highlighted by the Children Commissioner in his report, stating that ‘sites and residences also reported issues with retention of staff. Staff seemed to be moving on for two main reasons: they gain experience at a CYF site and then go elsewhere in the sector, or they get burnt out and leave due to the stressful nature of the work.’
“Lack of training was also highlighted in reports on Te Puna Wai. The Children’s Commissioner highlighted the danger in his report stating that ‘having poorly trained care staff in residences can increase risk for both young people and staff.’
“This should have been a red flag to the Minister long before the Children’s Commissioner issued his report – particularly given the high proportion of complaints that young people were making about the facility that were found to be justified, and the indications that staff were under strain.
“While the Commissioner’s report adds welcome transparency to CYFS, how many more residences have had such massive red flags that the Minister knew about,” says Jacinda Ardern.
ENDS

Next in New Zealand politics

Omicron Outbreak Would Move The Country To Red - Expert Reaction
By: Science Media Centre
New Zealand Prepared To Send Support To Tonga
By: New Zealand Government
COVID-19 Immunisation Starts For 5 To 11-year-old Tāmariki
By: Ministry of Health
Departures Lift Border Crossing Numbers
By: Statistics New Zealand
Open Letter To Government From Non-bank Lenders: The Path Forward On CCCFA Changes
By: Financial Services Federation
Too Many Kiwi Workers Financially Vulnerable As Omicron Looms - Annual Workforce Survey
By: CTU
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media